Friday, 30 April 2010
Ethel~Maud, named after my Grandmothers, was one of the first dolls I bought for myself as an adult and I came across her whilst whiling away some time on Ebay ~ as you do ;-) She is a Norah Wellings doll, although I didn't know when I bought her that she was a doll from any particular maker ~ and to be honest I'd never heard of Norah Wellings before Ethel~Maud arrived through my letter-box.
In my internet searching to try to find out about Norah Wellings, I came across a blog called "Norah Wellings Journal", by a lady called Gillian Trotter who has written a book about Miss Wellings. I plucked up the courage to send an email to Gill to ask if she would be able to have a quick look at Ethel~Maud's photos on my blog, and whether she could perhaps tell me something about her.
Gill has got photos of some lovely dolls on her blog; they make poor little Ethel~Maud look very shabby and down-at-heel. She is in a somewhat battered condition, bless her, with pen marks, dirty and worn patches, re-attached arms (one of which has been sewn on back-to-front); she has a very receding hairline and a rather disfigured face ~ her eyes are wearing away, her nose is non-existent and her poor mouth has been very badly coloured in. My Sherlock Holmes-like powers of deduction lead me to suspect she was a plaything as opposed to a collector's doll.....
The photos on Gill's blog show dolls dressed in lovely outfits but Ethel~Maud arrived absolutely stark naked ~ hence the rather fetching hankie and brooch ensemble she is currently floating around in! I confess that she very quickly became my little mascot and I really do like to sit her near me when I'm doing bits and pieces. Oh dear, does that make me weird do you think???
I received a lovely email from Gill in response to mine, and she was been able to tell me a little about Ethel~Maud:
"She looks like one of Norah Wellings Islander Dolls. You do not say what size she is but looks to be the smaller size of 8 to 12 inches? Norah Wellings was very well known for her wonderful Islander dolls and they were made wearing a mixture of different national clothing but most commonly grass skirts. However as yours has black shoes she would not have had a grass skirt as that particular model had bare feet. They came in sizes 8 to 36 inches , earliest having glass eyes, later painted eyes. Looking at the label on Ethel-Maud she would have been made from 1940 to 1950's ( Norah Wellings stopped production in 1959). The same models were used for many years."
I have chosen Ethel~Maud to be my "one object" for the One Object 365 Days Project and I'm feeling rather excited about sharing more photos of her on Flickr and here on my blog :-)